Letter to the editor: Corporate Transparency Act would harm small businesses
Legislation will soon be heard in Congress requiring all small business owners with fewer than 20 employees to file reports with the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The Corporate Transparency Act is meant to help law enforcement track down criminals who form small shell companies for illicit activities. A giant government database of personal information would be compiled, largely provided by law-abiding small business owners.
The legislation may be well-intended, but it would create a security threat for small business owners and a massive paperwork burden. Personal information, like the business owner’s driver’s license or passport numbers, would be accessible to police and even foreign governments if they ask for it. That presents a huge risk for identity theft and fraud.
It also piles on more paperwork for all the small business owners least able to handle the additional burden. These company owners don’t have lawyers or accountants on staff to help them comply, yet not doing so could result in fines of up to $10,000 and three years in jail.
Stopping financial crimes and money laundering may be the goal, but this legislation is the wrong answer. I urge Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation to vote against it.
The writer is secretary/treasurer of Watt’s Truck Center.